This will be the first time in 3 years and 7 EMI trips that I have returned to a country. While always going someplace new is pretty exciting and adventurous, there are a lot of good reasons to look forward to returning to Uganda. Some of them are admittedly shallow and superficial, but some are deep. Sort of. I try to be deep when I can, but I usually resort to dry humor and hashtags. But I digress. Here is my list of things to look forward to.
2. I’m staying with an EMI staff family. This means I can probably do laundry (can I? pretty please?). Which is good because I don't have room for 2 weeks worth of clothing. Because I am taking ALL THE THINGS for various people there. Seriously, at least 2/3 of my stuff is not actually my stuff.
3. I’ll have more time to get to know some people. Over the years there have been various opportunities for me to get acquainted with a few of our staff in the Uganda office, but not well. These are cool people. Some are American expats and some are Ugandans. The longer time frame of my trip coupled with the nature of my assignment means I will get to know many of them more deeply.
4. Stony. This is a beverage. It’s basically ginger beer. I love all things ginger and I really love fizzy drinks. Put them together and it’s magic. It’s also harsh. One whiff of Stoney directly up the schnoz is a heady experience. It’s non-alcoholic so that’s not the problem, it is more about the strength of the ginger. I feel like a man when I drink it. Or maybe just a woman who is not to be messed with. A photojournalist who can embed with the rebel troops and dodge bullets and walk away from explosions without jumping or peeing a little.
5. A chance to fall in love. Before we ever went to Africa for the first time we kept hearing people say things like, “Africa will get under your skin and in your blood. You will fall in love with it.” When that did not happen even after our second trip, I was a bit disappointed.
I’ve also heard it said (and I believe) that love is not a spark that ignites and immediately becomes a raging blaze. It’s more like embers that will grow into flames if properly fanned and given fuel. People who are placed into arranged marriages say that while love was not initially present when they first wed, it grew as they came to know each other. Perhaps love for Africa is like that. Every journey back is a chance for the roots to go deeper and the plant to take a more recognizable shape.
Honestly though, I kind of wish I were sitting this term out. I’m a bit tired. Not in the mood to travel. I’d rather not be away from my family for two weeks. I still recognize I scored my dream job here, so I’m not complaining (no dodging of bullets while peeing!). But when you’re feeling homesick before you’ve even left you know you’re going to need to work up some mental fortitude to go get on that airplane.
P.S. I forgot one: Warthogs. I may not see one, but if I do I will be squealing like a little girl, because warthogs are THE BEST.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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